MSN Dating & Personals




 
Meeting your new guy’s friends

By Kimberly Dawn Neumann

Things are great when it’s just the two of you. But then one day your new beau utters the phrase, “I’d love for you to meet some of my pals” and you know it’s time for the Friend Test.

Don’t panic. This is actually a good thing. He’s seeing you as someone who might stick around for a while, and he’s ready to gauge how you fit with the pieces already in place (i.e., his social circle). But that’s also precisely why it’s very important to make a good impression at this juncture in your relationship. “In the gay world, meeting a new beau’s friends for the first time is like meeting his family,” says Joe Kort, MSW, a psychotherapist and author of 10 Smart Things Gay Men Can Do To Find Real Love. “A gay guy is going to look for his friends’ approval before moving towards exclusivity.”

With that in mind, we’ve gathered some expert and real-people advice to help you sail through that first friend meet-up. Read on to learn more.

Do agree on your story. Before you’re thrown into the fray, make sure you know what your date has told his friends about you so no one ends up embarrassed or angry. “Find out what they know about you, how you two met, the depth of your relationship and what he is comfortable with them knowing,” says Scott Ihrig of New York, NY. “It isn’t good to casually mention that you met at a hot gay club when the friends all think you met at church!”

Do come prepared. Know something about the guys you’re greeting and you’ll be in good shape. “Make it apparent that you’ve heard a few stories and are actually interested in chatting with these people as a result,” says Kenneth Pietrobono, who works hard at making a good impression on his dates’ pals. For example, say something like, “Oh, so you’re the one! I heard the story about you and the watermelon on the subway and laughed about it for days.” This indicates you aren’t just sleeping with your new beau but have actually had lots of conversations...and that you remember important details in your new beau’s life.

Don’t be the silent type. If you sit there like a bump on a log and say nothing, they’ll be bored, bored, bored. So make conversation. That means asking questions about the other people so it’s not all about you. “Remember the three-minute rule,” suggests Steve Borne of New York, NY. “If you’ve been talking for three minutes, it’s time to shut up and listen...then be interested in what they have to say or at least feign interest believably.” And remember to make eye contact.

Do offer sincere compliments. Nothing is worse than a fake date, so don’t offer up too many niceties that you don’t mean. People will see right through that. However, if you genuinely see an opportunity to throw out a compliment (“Wow, great shirt...where’d you get that?”), then grab it. “People won’t remember what you said as much as how you made them feel. That’s what will leave them with a good impression,” says Kort.

Do fly solo on occasion. Sure, it’s important to show your affection for your date, but also show him and his friends that you can stand on your own two feet. “If, for example, you’re at a party, allow your boyfriend to leave your side for a while and let him see that you can relate to his friends and carry a conversation without him there,” suggests Kort. “He’ll appreciate it if you hold your own while he’s not holding your hand.”

Don’t be afraid to admit to nerves. You are being judged and you know it so it’s OK to be a little nervous. But instead of putting on airs, it can actually be very charming to fess up to your jitters. “Admitting that you’re nervous is very endearing. It shows that you’re willing to risk being vulnerable in an awkward situation,” says Kort. It won’t make you look weak, it’ll make you seem real. For example, if mid-conversation you find yourself stumbling or at a loss for words, just throw in a, “Wow, I’m really nervous because I know how important you are to [insert your date’s name here] and I really like him so I want to make a good impression.” Chances are they’ll find your candor refreshing.

Do keep it light. This is not the time to enter into a heavy political debate, talk about your ex, or your problems with your family. If you’re too strident or negative, you’ll leave a less-than-stellar impression. “Stay upbeat and positive and focus on the good things in your life and everyone else’s,” says Kort.

Don’t get personal. Your sex life may be mind-blowing, but please—this is not the place to talk about it! “Also nothing reeks of desperation more than getting too touchy-feely with your new beau in public,” warns Jody Reynard, who’s seen this uncomfortable tactic a few too many times.

Don’t try to buy approval. “Unless you want to continue picking up the tab for the rest of the relationship, don’t grab the bill just to impress everyone,” says Ihrig. A better bet is to pay your fair share and tip well. If you’re going to someone’s home, arrive with a bottle of wine or a small token of appreciation for being included.

Don’t trash anyone after-the-fact. The post-event conversation is inevitable, but no matter how much your guy prods (or how much you want to let it all out), do not criticize his friends. You can be honest about the people you really liked and those you didn’t connect with, but pointing out everyone’s faults will only make you look petty. Hopefully, there will be plenty of time down the road to gossip about his pals!

Ultimately the most important thing when meeting his friends is just be yourself and show your honest affection for your new boyfriend. If they can see how much you care about him and that you make him happy, then chances are they’ll be thrilled for the both of you.


Kimberly Dawn Neumann is a New York City-based freelance writer whose work has appeared in Cosmopolitan, Maxim, Physical, Prevention and frequently for www.msn.com.

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